Definition of conflate in US English:



[with object]
  • Combine (two or more texts, ideas, etc.) into one.

    ‘the urban crisis conflates a number of different economic and social issues’
    • ‘I am trying to express the idea that people conflate gender with biology, and that what we call ‘gendered pronouns’ are in fact sexed pronouns.’
    • ‘The Russian language does not premise argument upon evidence; it conflates the two.’
    • ‘One problem with this has already been discussed: if we conflate the idea of a person with that of a human, we are confusing issues of species membership with what gives our lives the value that they have.’
    • ‘Such pessimism has led multiculturalists to conflate the idea of humans as culture-bearing creatures with the idea that humans have to bear a particular culture.’
    • ‘Then you justify this in turn by, precisely, conflating humans and animals: it is the nature of humans to behave in such a way as to draw an absolute distinction between themselves and animals.’
    • ‘Historically, editors have tended to conflate the quarto and Folio texts.’
    • ‘This is part of a broader limitation of institutionalist economics which, as a ‘middle range’ theory, systematically conflates the levels of abstraction in its analyses.’
    • ‘We have the difficult task of fighting them, while protecting innocents in a war where the enemy deliberately and cynically conflates the two.’
    • ‘There are in fact two distinct arguments, but I will argue that neither works on its own, and that the plausibility of utilitarianism depends on conflating the two.’
    • ‘These poems approach the female body and the city from one perspective, conflating the two.’
    • ‘But the actual editorial choices - what to include, how to conflate contradictory texts - I had assumed were not copyrightable.’
    • ‘But now we have people conflating the idea of patriotism with a direct, hostile rejection of those ideals.’
    • ‘She conflates ideas associated with the French revolution with contemporary American life.’
    • ‘This first modern paradigm is an abstract rationalist universalism that conflates universality with Eurocentrism and developmental modernism.’
    • ‘We should be careful not to conflate the practice of appeasement with the idea of appeasement, and thereby consign it, willy-nilly, to damnation.’
    • ‘At certain points, however, they seem unable to separate these aspects, and end up conflating the two.’
    • ‘Unfortunately, the author conflates blind followers of religious dogma with thoughtful believers who reason independently within a religiously-informed framework.’
    • ‘What's tricky is that people can conflate those ideas about collage and appropriation and art and culture with ideas about downloading and file-sharing.’
    • ‘The clone's awakening after the embryo has been removed from her body opens the possibility for the emergence of a new type of hero by conflating images of rebirth and transformation.’
    • ‘Gradually this notion of election has been conflated with another, still more dangerous idea.’
    condense, shorten, reduce, abbreviate, abridge, summarize, precis, abstract, boil down, shrink, encapsulate
    View synonyms


Late Middle English (in the sense ‘fuse or melt down metal’): from Latin conflat- ‘kindled, fused’, from the verb conflare, from con- ‘together’ + flare ‘to blow’.